Kwaito is a form of South African music and lifestyle. It developed in the early 1990s in the townships of Johannesburg. It is popular all over southern africa--Namibia, Lesotho, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania. Kwaito can mean "ferocious", "hot tempered", and "awesome."

Kwaito is marked by programmed beats, call and response pattern, and repetitive lyrics. Early kwaito was apolitical (devoid of any political message), a break from the older generation, which featured much politically laced lyrics. Lyrically, Kwaito became post-Apartheid, new, and youthful. It has gotten a lot of controversal press for being lyrically misogynistic, use of excessive profanity, materialism, and violence. It is sang in tsotsitaal, a mix language of street slang, Afrikaaner, Sotho, Zulu, and Xhosa. Tsotsi means thug in Afrikaaner. Taal means language.

Kwaito had its beginning in the early 1990s. Djs in Johannesburg began to experiment with electronic music, techno, house, hip-hop, and ragga. They began to give it a South African feel. Township Dj's began to add the melodies, harmonies, and rhythm patterns of Bubblegum(South African disco), Mbaqanga, Mpantsula, and South African gospel creatiing a distinct sound. The music became part of the youth underground. Artist sold their music on the streets and via independent record labels. It became a lifestyle, a way of dress, and talk, rooted in the poor townships--the lowest order of South African society. 

Significant Kwaito artists are Osca Warona, Authur Mafakote(King of Kwaito), Fassie (Queen of Kwaito), Zola, Ma Africa, the Dogg and Gazza.

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YouTube Video